Memo To:   All Buffalo Teachers

From:         Philip Rumore, President, BTF

Date:          October 22, 2020


Subject:     Updates

APPR/Evaluations – Observations
Teachers aren’t under enough stress, yet the District is intent on evaluating teachers virtually.

We have not agreed to any modification of our APPR Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to which both the BTF and District agreed (Click Here).

Any change would have to be agreed to by the Executive Committee, Council of Delegates and you.

ISSUE: Rubric did not contemplate virtual observation(s).

Remember, if directed to “submit” to an APPR, there must be a pre-meeting, agreed upon lesson, date and a “waive off”.

We are working with NYSUT to obtain some relief.

NOTE: If you are observed for your APPR or any other reason:

  • Take notes relating to the conditions/circumstances, e.g.:
    • The date, time and length.
    • Was it done virtually, i.e. the administrator was/or was not in your room?
    • How could the building administrator “view” all of your students?
    • What did the administrator say during the lesson?
    • What was said at your pre and post meetings with your building administrator?
    • Other information we can use to challenge this.


The directive to do evaluations is apparently coming from City Hall.

Building Elections
A By-Law Change to allow for the extension of terms for Building Delegates, Alternates and Building Committee members will be presented to the Council of Delegates (Click Here).

The BTF Constitution and By-Laws only delineate these positions. Site-Based (SBMT) positions do not require a By-Law change. Site-based positions can be filled at the time of the vote for Building representatives or as agreed to by the teachers at the building.

Procedures for conducting virtual building elections are being formalized using a platform called “Election Buddy”.

Information and procedures will be forwarded as soon as the procedures are arranged.

Pre-K – Grade 12 COVID-19 Toolkit/Other Documents
Below, please find two (2) documents relating to COVID-19 and schools.

  • Pre-K – Grade 12 COVID-19 Toolkit (Click Here)
  • Erie County Department of Health Guidance for Pre-K – Grade 12 and Higher Education when a Student/Staff has COVID-19 Symptoms or a Positive COVID-19 Test (Click Here).


Please remember these change often.

Building Reopening Plans
Principals have been instructed to develop reopening plans for their building.

  • Like in D.C., there have been no guidelines or models suggested, no delineated procedures for entering, exiting, visiting the school, etc. In short, you are on your own and if it doesn’t work and COVID-19 is spreading and students don’t learn, it’s your fault.
  • Once again if asked if you would teach 5 days a week in person with students, you can indicate that you do not have sufficient information, e.g. what sanitization procedures will be followed for the entire building, what will be my schedule, how many students will I have, how will movement in the building take place, etc. Teachers want to be with their students; however, there must be delineated and written procedures in place to ensure the safety of students, parents, staff and community.

How important is the voice of teachers, parents, staff, etc.?

What follows is a quote from the October 19, 2020 District Reopening Committee Agenda.

“ 2. Meaningful Engagement? – Edit, rework, add to… the following definition:
Stakeholders (parents/caregivers, teachers, administrators, support staff) working together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of students. Listening, offering suggestions, developing plans that aid in the goal of a workgroup or committee. Acknowledgment and understanding the feedback loop and ensuring representatives speak on behalf of constituents – allowing everyone to have a voice. Meaningful engagement is not the same as shared decision making.” (emphasis added)

In other words, you can talk and we will listen; however, you are not part of any decision making. There is no shared decision making. We will unilaterally make the decisions. All that comes before the last sentence is meaningless verbiage.

What else is new?